Some NVIDIA R337.50 Driver Controversy

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 8, 2014 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, drivers

NVIDIA's GeForce 337.50 Driver was said to address performance when running DirectX 11-based software. Now that it is out, multiple sources are claiming the vendor-supplied benchmarks are exaggerated or simply untrue.

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ExtremeTech compiled benchmarks from Anandtech and BlackHoleTec.

Going alphabetically, Anandtech tested the R337.50 and R331.xx drivers with a GeForce GTX 780 Ti, finding a double-digit increase with BioShock: Infinite and Metro: Last Light and basically zero improvement for GRID 2, Rome II, Crysis: Warhead, Crysis 3, and Company of Heroes 2. Adding a second GTX 780 Ti into the mix helped matters, seeing a 76% increase in Rome II and about 9% in most of the other titles.

BlackHoleTec is next. Testing the mid-range, but overclocked GeForce 760 between R337.50 and R335.23 drivers, they found slight improvements (1-3 FPS), except for Battlefield 4 and Skyrim (the latter is not DX11 to be fair) which noticed a slight reduction in performance (about 1 FPS).

ExtremeTech, finally, published one benchmark but it did not compare between drivers. All it really shows is CPU scaling in AMD GPUs.

Unfortunately, I do not have any benchmarks to present of my own because I am not a GPU reviewer nor do I have a GPU testbed. Ironically, the launch of the Radeon R9 295 X2 video card might have lessened that number of benchmarks available for NVIDIA's driver, who knows?

If it is true, and R337.50 does basically nothing in a setup with one GPU, I am not exactly sure what NVIDIA was hoping to accomplish. Of course someone was going to test it and publish their results. The point of the driver update was apparently to show how having a close relationship with Microsoft can lead you to better PC gaming products now and in the future. That can really only be the story if you have something to show. Now, at least I expect, we will probably see more positive commentary about Mantle - at least when people are not talking about DirectX 12.

If you own a GeForce card, I would still install the new driver though, especially if you have an SLi configuration. Scaling to a second GPU does see measurable improvements with Release 337.50. Even for a single-card configuration, it certainly should not hurt anything.

Source: ExtremeTech

NVIDIA Releases 326.19 Beta Driver, Adds Support for 4K Tiled Displays!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | July 18, 2013 - 05:16 PM |
Tagged: pq321q, PQ321, nvidia, drivers, asus, 4k

It would appear that NVIDIA was paying attention to our recent live stream where we unboxed and setup our new ASUS PQ321Q 4K 3840x2160 monitor.  During our setup on the AMD and NVIDIA based test beds I noticed (and the viewers saw) some less than desirable results during initial configuration.  The driver support was pretty clunky, we had issues with reliability of booting and switching between SST and MST (single and multi stream transport) modes caused the card some issue as well. 

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Today NVIDIA released a new R326 driver, 326.19 beta, that improves performance in a couple of games but more importantly, adds support for "tiled 4K displays."  If you don't know what that means, you aren't alone.  A tiled display is one that is powered by multiple heads and essentially acts as multiple screens in a single housing.  The ASUS PQ321Q monitor that we have in house, and the Sharp PN-K321, are tiled displays that use DisplayPort 1.2 MST technology to run at 3840x2160 @ 60 Hz. 

It is great to see NVIDIA reacting quickly to new technologies and to our issues from just under a week gone by.  If you have either of these displays, be sure to give the new driver a shot and let me know your results!

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Catalyst 13.6 Beta Drivers For Windows and Linux Now Available

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 28, 2013 - 08:32 PM |
Tagged: gpu, drivers, catalyst 13.6 beta, beta, amd

AMD has released its Catalyst 13.6 beta graphics driver, and it fixes a number of issues under both Windows 8 and Linux. The new beta driver is also compatible with the existing Catalyst 13.5 CAP1 (Catalyst Application Profile) which improves performance of several PC games.

As far as the Windows version of the graphics driver, Catalyst 13.6 adds OpenCL GPU acceleration support to Adobe's Premiere Pro CC software and enables AMD Wireless Display technology on systems with the company's A-Series APUs and either Broadcom or Atheros Wi-Fi chipsets. AMD has also made a couple of tweaks to its Enduro technology, including correctly identifying when a Metro app idles and offloading the corresponding GPU tasks to integrated graphics instead of a discrete card. The new beta driver also resolves an issue with audio dropout over HDMI.

AMD Catalyst Drivers.jpg

On the Linux side of things, Catalyst 13.6 beta adds support for the following when using AMD's A10, A8, A6, and A4 APUs:

  • Ubuntu 13.04
  • Xserver 1.14
  • GLX_EXT_buffer age

The driver fixes several bugs as well, including resolving black screen and corruption issues under TF2, an issue with OpenGL applications and VSYNC, and UVD playback issues where the taskbar would disappear and/or the system would experience a noticeable performance drop while playing a UVD in XBMC.

You can grab the new beta driver from the AMD website.

Source: AMD

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.1 GPU Drivers With Various Tweaks for Radeon HD 7000 Series

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2013 - 08:33 AM |
Tagged: Radeon HD 7000, gpu, drivers, catalyst 13.1, amd

AMD recently released a new set of Catalyst graphics card drivers with Catalyst 13.1. The new drivers are WHQL (Microsoft certified) and incorporate all of the fixes contained in the 12.11 beta 11 drivers. The Radeon HD 7000 series will see the majority of the performance and stability tweaks with 13.1. Additionally, the Catalyst 13.1 suite includes a new 3D settings interface in Catalyst Control Center that allows per-application profile management. The Linux version of the Catalyst 13.1 drivers now officially support Ubuntu 12.10 as well.

amd catalyst.jpg

Some of the notable performance tweaks for the HD 7000 series include:

  • CrossFire scaling performance in Call of Duty: Black Ops II improvements.
  • Up to a 25% increase in Far Cry 3 when using 8X MSAA.
  • An 8% performance increase in Sleeping Dogs and StarCraft II.
  • A 5% improvement in Max Payne 3.

 

New 3D Settings UI in Catalyst.jpg

Beyond the performance increases, AMD has fixes several bugs with the latest drivers. Some of the noteworthy fixes include:

  • Fixed a system hang on X58 and X79 chipset-based systems using HD 7000-series GPUs.
  • Fixed an intermittent hang with HD 7000-series GPUs in CrossFireX and Eyefinity configurations.
  • Resolved a system hang in Dishonored on 5000 and 6000 series graphics cards.
  • Resolved a video issue with WMP Classic Home Cinema.
  • Added Super Sample Anti-Aliasing support in the OpenGL driver.

AMD has also released a new standalone un-installation utility that will reportedly clean your system of AMD graphics card drivers to make way for newer versions. That utility can be downloaded here.

If you have a Radeon HD 7000-series card, it would be worth it to update your drivers ASAP. You can download the Catalyst 13.1 drivers on the AMD website.

You can find a full list of the performance tweaks and bug fixes in the Catalyst 13.1 release notes.

Source: AMD

New NVIDIA 304.79 Beta Drivers Add TXAA and Bug Fixes

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 3, 2012 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: txaa, nvidia, graphics drivers, gpu, drivers, bug fixes

NVIDIA has made the latest version of its beta graphics card drivers available for download. With the new version 304.79 beta drivers comes TXAA support, numerous bug fixes, and the first unified Windows 8 and Windows 7 release.

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We covered TXAA, or temporal anti-aliasing, in our NVIDIA GTX 680 2GB review. The new 304.79 drivers enable support for it in The Secret World MMORPG – following a game update. TXAA will come in two levels with TXAA 2 having quality greater than 8x MSAA, especially with in-game objects like chain link fences. The issue with TXAA adoption is that it must be implemented in the game engine, and cannot simply be added on after the fact via the NVIDIA control panel. Also, it is a feature that is exclusive to the company’s 600-series Kepler graphics cards.

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There are a few other games that have claimed support for TXAA, but gamers will have to wait for a future update to take advantage of it.

The beta drivers are the first graphics drivers to be a unified release with support for both desktops and laptops running Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8. Further, the company has updated its SLI profiles to support End of Nations, Nexuiz, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Tornado Force, and Tribes: Ascend. The release also addresses a number of bugs. Some of the larger bug fixes include a fix for an issue that caused the PC to reboot instead of shut down, an issue that caused a black screen after driver installation, and a fix for flickering mouse cursors when hardware cursor is enabled in certain games.

You can find the complete list of bug fixes in the release notes, and you can grab the latest beta drivers from the NVIDIA website.

 

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Responds to Linus Torvalds’ Rant

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 10:35 AM |
Tagged: rant, optimus, open source, nvidia, linux, linus, drivers

Last week, the founder of Linux – Linus Torvalds – gave a speech at the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship. The aspect that most people picked up on was a certain disparaging statement towards NVIDIA. Since then, the video has spread rapidly around the Internet with critics for and against the statement. Linus does not believe that NVIDIA is easy to work with regarding Linux support, in short. NVIDIA PR recently responded to his statement in stating that the company is in fact heavily involved with Linux development, albeit mobile kernels.

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NVIDIA stated in its PR release that supporting Linux is important to the company and they understand how important a positive Linux experience using NVIDIA hardware is. I don’t think anyone is surprised by that statement, but that was not all they said. The company stated that they are big supporters of the ARM Linux kernel with a claimed second most total lines changed and fourth highest number of changesets in the kernel.

The company uses proprietary drivers, but it does support GeForce, Quadro, and Tesla graphics cards under the Linux operating system. By using a common, proprietary driver, NVIDIA claims same-day support for new graphics cards and OpenGL versions for both Windows and Linux operating systems.

Linus’ rant started when an audience member asked about Optimus support under Linux. On that front, NVIDIA did not have a direct answer – only that when it launched laptops with Optimus, it was only supported on Windows 7. Allegedly, the company is working to make interaction between its drivers and the Bumblebee Open Source Project. The Bumblebee project is working to make Optimus-powered laptops work with Linux operating systems.

What do you think of the two statements by Linus and NVIDIA? Should NVIDIA be held accountable for Optimus support under Linux? Is the company doing enough to support the OS? Or is Linus wrong? Let us know in the comments below!

Personally, as much as I like Linux, I don’t think NVIDIA should have to go out of its way to support Optimus on Linux. At least, not until the Linux OS is the operating system that comes pre-installed on an Optimus notebook. At that point, it would be on NVIDIA to provide support. Until then, they don’t have to support it on aftermarket / third part operating systems. With that said, better Linux support couldn't hurt PR-wise. As far as Linux and NVIDIA working together in a more general sense, I think that the company could certainly do more for Linux on the desktop, especially being a Linux Foundation member, but I don't think they will until it is more financially viable to do so.

The full PR statement is available after the break.

Source: Phoronix